NLC shuns meeting with Nigerian government, gives condition for workers not to shut down economic activities on Wednesday

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has shunned the meeting with the Federal Government delegation held at the Presidential Villa, on Sunday, June 4, 2023, stating that there would be no discussion unless the government returns the price of fuel to its previous rate.

NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in an interview, stated that until the Federal Government obeys the Appropriation Act of 2023, which makes provision for subsidy till the end of June, Congress will boycott the meetings with the government.

He said: “We have boycotted the meeting until they revert. There is no point meeting with people who do not have the mandate when what they are doing is illegal, because the Appropriation Act of 2023 has not been obeyed, which makes provision for subsidy till the end of June.

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“So, we cannot sit to negotiate. Let them revert so that we all can freely negotiate over the issues raised. In our meeting with them last Wednesday, we asked them to revert. NNPC acknowledged that the high rate was not official, but how come they adjusted pump meters across the federation? It was a negotiation not based on good faith.”

Meanwhile, Federal Government has said it will consider the list of demands from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) which includes minimum wage.

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Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting between the Federal Government and the TUC which lasted for about three hours, the spokesperson for the Federal government, Dele Alake, said that it will also look at the practicability of the demands.

Among things the government is considering is tax holidays for workers.

Alake said that most fundamentally President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will constitute a tripartite committee to include states and organised labour and the private sector to study the dynamics of the minimum wage augmentation to reach an amicable conclusion.

According to him, there is no disagreement with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over their demand for a review of the minimum wage or a return to the status quo, noting that the FG representatives will meet with the President to crystallize decisions on the demands.

He added that the absence of the NLC does not translate to an isolation of the group in the discussion but that the FG is making efforts to reach them as the parties agreed to reconvene on Tuesday 24 hours before a scheduled strike by the NLC.

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Also speaking after the meeting, the President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, maintained that the Federal Government, in the interest of social dialogue, should revert the price of fuel while discussions continue.

He said the union is hopeful as the Federal Government promised to look into their demands, the top of which is a review of the current minimum wage among others.

“The demands are so long, they are so many. Part of it is the demand for a (review) of the minimum wage and we stated that for us, it is quite apt that the minimum today is not a living wage, as we all know. The value of the minimum wage since it was negotiated, has plummeted to a very abysmal level as it is today.”

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